aNewDomain — I can’t get up. I don’t want to work. I’ve got no drive to get anything done today … so I think I’ll just sleep more.
Oh, that’s not me, that’s my character in The Sims Freeplay. He’s got motivation issues. But that’s not because the game is bad — it’s actually pretty good for an Electronic Arts mobile version of the ever-popular Sims series. There are a few discrepancies I see, but overall The Sims Freeplay has a nice sandbox feel and provides plenty of options for the player. Let’s take a look.
Slice of Life
The Sims Freeplay is pretty much a normal slice-of-life game. You create your own character and do mundane daily things, like get a job, eat food and go to bed. The gameplay takes it even further, though, and gives the character needs that the player must fulfill, like sleep, hunger, social life and bathroom breaks. Yeah, bathroom breaks.
I have to give it to EA for this level of dedication because it creates a down-to-earth, realistic simulator. The definition of a role-playing game (RPG) changes when you are so closely recreating your life (or someone’s life) in-game.
Another cool aspect of The Sims Freeplay is that you’re not just limited to one character. Far from it — you’re able to create up to 20 characters in your neighborhood, unlocking slots as you advance in level. This allows the player to build his or her neighborhood and develop a community of multiple Sims, instead of a game focused on just one character. I enjoy daily life games that allow for multiple characters because it provides a nice community feeling, and it’s cool to see my characters interacting with each other.
However, a lot of the daily life aspects of the game are unlocked through a quest system, which can be a bit irksome. Players are given quests that they must complete in order to advance through the game — a standard concept in RPG gaming. I can see how this acts like a tutorial early on, which helps players get to know the ins and outs of the game, but further into the game it feels restrictive.
Two Glaring Issues
Yes, The Sims Freeplay is fun, the graphics are good and the development is interesting, if slow. But — and it’s a big but — there are two glaring issues:
- The female characters don’t have long hair.
- The aging, senior citizen quest.
Alright, so I assume the lack of long hair is just EA being too lazy to program long hair in the graphics rendering. As an aspiring computer science major, allow me to take two seconds to bang my face against the wall. Why, EA? Long hair isn’t hard, as long as you don’t try to render any strands in front of the girl’s face, or any hair in front for that matter. It’s a fairly easy creation. A simple ponytail will do, all in the back, and won’t pose any problem for the front end.
Alas. No long hair. There is a special quest where one can acquire long hair, but it’s a limited time offer if you do achieve it, and only lasts a week. A week! For long hair! Really? How can a Sims game not contain long hair for people who, you know, don’t get their hair cut?
Moving on … this aging quest issue. The game has an aging quest that turns your adult Sims into senior citizens. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with having one or two Sims that are feeling their age, when your entire town looks like a retirement home you have a problem. While I haven’t reached that stage in my own gameplay, many people have quit the game when they get to that point.
It’s frustrating because unless you take on the quest that ages your characters, you can’t advance in the game. This game imitates the bad things as well as the good things about daily life, but this particular issue nags at me.
Overall The Sims Freeplay gets an 8/10. I enjoyed it thoroughly — the gameplay’s nice, there are a lot of fine and realistic details, and its overall ability to create lots of characters sits well with me. However, the fact that my female characters can’t have long hair, or that after hundreds of hours of gameplay my neighborhood looks like an old folks home, doesn’t hold up well.
If EA could fix those discrepancies in the game, I would say this is one of the best games out there. But, for now, it’s a fairly good game that I would recommend you download if you’re into those slice-of-life games. This game is free (unlike Sims 3 or Sims 4) and available for Android on Google Play and Apple iOS.
All screenshots: Puching Zhang courtesy of Electronic Arts